Danish pig herd still in growth

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The number of pigs in Denmark on the 1 April 2018 totalled 12.7 million head, a 4% increase on year earlier levels, although down 1% compared with the number recorded on 1 January. Over the past year the number of pigs in Denmark has been growing, with the total number of sows currently in the breeding herd increasing by 3% year-on-year, to 1.3 million head.

The increase was recorded across all sow categories, with the number of maiden and in-pig gilts up by 5% each while the number of in-pig sows increased by a more modest 2%. The strong prices received during 2017 may have encouraged producers to expand their herds; compared to three months prior, the total number of breeding sows increased by 1%.

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The number of pigs weighing over 50kg and intended for slaughter increased by 8% year-on-year, although down 1% on 1 January numbers. This decline on the previous quarter was not necessarily un-surprising considering recent slaughter trends and higher production in the first quarter. Reflecting the growth in breeding sows, the number of piglets was up 6% on-the-year and 2% on 1 January figures, to 5.8 million.

Pig prices in all the major EU producing countries have been on a general downwards trend since the middle of last summer when the EU average pig reference price peaked, although the measure did rise for a few weeks in February of this year. These price declines come as global production of pig meat is forecast to rise in 2018, with demand not expected to grow at the same rate. As Denmark is a key supplier of pig meat to the UK, any changes in the market there will have an effect on both the UK and wider European markets.

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Rebecca Oborne, Analyst

rebecca.oborne@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8631